So what did we find in Greater Melbourne Vital Signs 2017?
What can we celebrate about our great city?
Overall, education is a strength: 95% of children in Victoria attend preschool1, 2; and 82% of young people finish Year 12 (compared with 55% 50 years ago)3.
87% of children are in good health4. 95% of residents participate in or attend arts and cultural events5.
What are the biggest challenges facing Melbourne?
Homelessness and the lack of supply of affordable housing remains a big challenge for Melbourne. Only 0.7% of private rental properties are suitable for a person living on income support payments6. The number of older women ‘couch surfing’ has increased 83% since 20127. More than half of people accessing homeless services are under 258. The median price of housing across Greater Melbourne has increased by 19% in the last five years9.
Despite much higher school completion than 50 years ago, youth unemployment is too high at 13.5 % of young people (aged 15-24 years). Only one third of graduates seeking full time employment were able to find a job within four months. Underemployment of young people is even more significant at 18%; the highest since records began10.
40% of our waterways are under stress11 and our foodbowl, which currently has a wonderful capacity to grow 82% of the city’s vegetables and 41% of our total food needs, needs to be protected and drought proofed despite our growing population12.
Another concern is the report that 1 in 5 people (20%) reported experiencing discrimination based on skin colour, ethnic origin or religion. This is an increase from up from 15% in 201513. This is particularly concerning given that 34% of our population was born outside Australia and nearly 1.5 million people speak a language other than English at home14.
Our greenhouse gas emissions are around four times the global average15, 16, 17, however rooftop solar is rapidly increasing – although we sit at 14% residential uptake compared with Queensland at 29%, WA 23.1% and SA at 28.8%18. We need to reduce our waste, which is increasing, although 44% is recycled or recovered19.
Which challenges should philanthropy be targeting?
Philanthropy sits in a unique place within the Melbourne community. Foundations can take a long- term view, outside of election and annual meeting cycles. We can support innovative responses, sometimes testing and proving new services and programs before government can fund them or a social enterprise model can become sustainable. Philanthropy can try to tackle the tough issues. Philanthropy can work in partnership with government and business and bring sectors together. Sometimes it makes most sense for government or business to take a lead.
Overall, we are a well-educated, arts oriented city. We are doing well conserving water and improving our air quality.
However, we must tackle the lack of affordable housing, reduce youth unemployment, protect our waterways and our food bowl, and actively support social inclusion. And more people need to be more active! Many of these challenges can be reduced if we take a proactive approach as a community, especially collaborating across sectors.
We will continue to work with our partners on:
- Reducing homelessness and increasing the supply of more affordable housing. Young people and older people, especially women, need support.
- Reducing youth unemployment in a changing world of work.
- Reducing discrimination in a culturally diverse community.
- Ensuring a sustainable food bowl and healthy waterways.
- Reducing our current level of waste.
- Supporting our community to prepare for and recover from heatwaves and other natural disasters such as fires and droughts, especially those most at risk such as children and older people or those with limited financial resources.
Chief Executive Officer
- Australian Bureau of Statistics, "4240.0 - Preschool Education, Australia," 8 March 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4240.0
- Department of Education and Training, "Kindergarten Participation Rate," July 2015. [Online]. Available: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/research/
- Australian Bureau of Statistics, "TableBuilder 2016 Census - Employment, Income and Education," 6 September 2017. [Online]. Available: https://auth.censusdata.abs.gov.au/webapi/jsf/tableView/tableView.xhtml#
- Department of Education & Training, "Young People with Good Health," July 2015. [Online]. Available: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/research/
- Creative Victoria, "Arts in Daily Life," December 2014. [Online]. Available: http://creative.vic.gov.au/research/reports/arts-in-daily-life
- Anglicare Australia, "Rental Affordability Snapshot," April 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.anglicare.asn.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/anglicare-australia-ras-2017---reissue-final.pdf?sfvrsn=0
- Council to Homeless Persons, "Hidden Homelessness on the Rise," 7 August 2017. [Online]. Available: http://chp.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/170807-rapid-rise-in-hidden-forms-of-homelessness-HW2017.pdf
- Council to Homeless Persons, "Homelessness in Victoria," 2012. [Online]. Available: http://chp.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/10122012_Homelessness-in-Victoria-with-2011-ABS-stats.pdf
- CoreLogic, "Housing Affordability Report," December 2016. [Online]. Available: https://www.corelogic.com.au/reports/CL_Housing-Affordability-Dec_2016.pdf
- Australian Bureau of Statistics, "6202.0 Labour Force Australia," 14 September 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/meisubs.NSF/log?openagent&6202022.xls&6202.0&Time%20Series%20Spreadsheet
- Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, "Report Card 2015-2016," 4 May 2017. [Online]. Available: http://yarraandbay.vic.gov.au/report-card/report-card-2016
- R. Carey, K. Larsen and J. Sheridan, "Melbourne's Food Future: Planning a Resilient City Foodbowl," 2016. [Online]. Available: http://veil.msd.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/
- A. Markus, "Mapping Social Cohesion: The Scanlon Foundation Surveys 2016," Monash University, Caufield, 2016
- Australian Bureau of Statistics, “Greater Melbourne,” 27 June 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/CensusOutput/
- Department of the Environment and Energy, "State and Territory Greenhouse Gas Inventories 2015," May 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/15d47b77-dee2-42c6-bf2e-6d73e661f99a/files/state-inventory-2015.pdf
- Australian Bureau of Statistics, "3101.0 - Australian Demographic Statistics, Jun 2015," 17 December 2015. [Online]. Available: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/allprimary
- The World Bank, "World Development Indicators," 1 July 2017. [Online]. Available: http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/world-development-indicators
- Australian PV Institute, "Mapping Australian Photovoltaic Installations," 5 September 2017. [Online]. Available: http://pv-map.apvi.org.au/historical#4/-26.67/134.12
- Sustainability Victoria, “Victorian Local Government Annual Waste Services Report 2014-2015,” 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/publications-and-research/research/victorian-waste-and-recycling-data-results-201415/victorian-local-government-annual-waste-services-report-201415